A federal judge on Monday dismissed President Trump's claim that he tried to prevent the Manhattan prosecutor from obtaining the president's tax returns, as part of an investigation into allegedly irregular payments during the 2016 campaign.
As a result, district attorney Cyrus Vance can enforce a subpoena that sent Trump accountants to hand over the documents, although lawyers said they will appeal the measure.
Trump's defenders had argued that the office of president made him immune to any investigation by any prosecutor, however, Judge Victor Marrero flatly rejected the claim. In his 75-page ruling, he described it as "disgusting" and explained: "This Court cannot support such a categorical and unlimited assertion of presidential immunity from judicial proceedings."RELATED
Vance is investigating the payments made in the last weeks of the 2016 campaign to two women who said they had had intimate relations with Trump years before. Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen later pleaded guilty to violations of federal campaign finance laws for fixing those payments, and said he had been reimbursed by the Trump Organization, which the president still owns. Subsequently, federal prosecutors concluded their investigation into those payments without accusing anyone beyond Cohen.
Now, Vance's office is investigating to see if any state laws were violated. His subpoenas requested eight years of tax returns from Trump and his business, as well as other documents. The tax documents, which would reveal the true financial situation, have brought more of a headache to the Republican tycoon, who is the first president in several decades to not share this information, despite promising it during the election campaign.
The president spoke on Twitter after the news, with criticism of the opposition.
As he said, the "radical" Democrats have "failed on all fronts, so now they are pushing" prosecutors to go after him. “Something like this has never happened to any president before. Not even close! ”He complained.
The decision marked a key setback for Trump, who has taken an unorthodox and aggressive approach to fighting the investigations of prosecutors and congressional commissions that have sought his tax returns and financial documents.
The judges have already ruled against Trump twice in another case, but those lawsuits are still tied in appeals in New York and Washington, and the subpoenas have not been enforced.
(With information from the Washington Post)